I just posted my first answer on this site, sharing a solution I've found to a problem that was not yet listed. Given a high enough reputation score on another SE site, I received 100 reputation bonus upon joining this site. However I was still being asked (for the first time ever in using this network) to fill out a third party CAPTCHA before my answer was posted. Why did this happen?

Note that it uses Google's CAPTCHA service, logging my visit here to a company that has already more than enough data on everyone. Now I don't mean to start a discussion about how bad or benign this is (as a developer I fully understand the choice to use that service), but because of this I am more curious to hear the justification for asking an active, logged-in user with a good reputation.

  • How long did you take to compose the answer? Did you switch between (WiFi) networks during composing the answer? – Werner Jun 7 '16 at 23:59
  • @Werner A while, I don't remember but a normal time. Then I copied the answer to my clipboard, joined the community, went back to the answer form, found it still filled in (the site had saved it), pasted my latest version over it to be sure, and finally hit submit. I guess the short time between joining and posting might be it, but that's silly since the site even saved my answer and knew it wasn't a flash post. – Luc Jun 8 '16 at 12:01

Being a user with good reputation doesn't mean you will never see a CAPTCHA.

It does mean that you won't see it as much as a new/anonymous user.

There are a lot of different factors that go into when it comes up (including posting many posts in a short time period).

  • Why is that though? I would imagine users with, say, >1k rep on any SE site not to be spam accounts... – Luc Jun 8 '16 at 19:55
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    @Luc - possibly it is a hacked account that was taken over? Or someone gone sour on the network and decided to spam around? – Oded Jun 8 '16 at 20:03
  • I meant in this case, where it was not "spamming around" because it involved only 1 post, and anyone could go sour at any point so that's no reason. I just think it was triggered in error. – Luc Jun 8 '16 at 20:16
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    Yes. As a mod with 30k+ rep (on that site) it happened to me when I was posting (relatively) many answers in a (relatively) short time frame. – Raphael Jun 13 '16 at 12:45

As Oded mentioned, there are a number of factors that may cause a CAPTCHA to appear. One of these is time. Perhaps the time was very short.

I've typed up answers while riding the bus, and switching to a different network before posting made CAPTCHAs appear as well. Not sure whether there might be linkage with the locality (network) when it comes to saving/posting content... purely speculative, of course.


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    Yes, it happens at times when I'm on the train. A bit annoying, but I understand the reasons. – egreg Jun 12 '16 at 14:33

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